Curated by Komal: Before We Lead, We Must Follow
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I am sitting on the floor of my hotel room in LA trying to stretch and write this letter after staying in bed for a good chunk of the morning. I’m at Summit, an incredible gathering of change makers from around the world — I got in yesterday after a life-changing time at TEDWomen supporting my Sikh sister Valarie Kaur. I shared on Instagram about how I pitched Valarie to let me shadow her at TEDWomen as she prepared her talk that would close the conference. I never imagined that it would lead to finding two life-long friends, allies, and sisters. My time in New Orleans changed me and showed me that in order to lead, at first we must follow.
Every leader at one point or another (and most, throughout their careers and lives), has someone they look up to that they deeply admire. We lead, in part, as a result of being filled with inspiration by another. We cannot lead without seeing the courage and bravery of those who have come before us and feeling the call to model what we’ve witnessed while adding our unique purpose to the mix.
At this moment in my life, I am in a season of following. As I look to cultivate my voice, work, impact, and purpose, I am looking to those who inspire me most. I have begun to reach out to them, offering my service to ensure they continue to rise and change this world for the better. In exchange I receive their wisdom, and I have the privilege of witnessing them in all their greatness in moments of impact.
I saw Valarie speak a year ago in Brooklyn on the Together Live tour. It changed me to see a Sikh woman take centre-stage and share our history with the world. She has been working tirelessly to shine a light on the hate crimes committed against the Sikh and Muslim communities since 9/11, and has begun a movement of #RevolutionaryLove that is taking the world (and your televisions) by storm. I had initially booked my trip to TEDWomen as a gift to myself and when I saw that Valarie was speaking, I knew in my bones that I was meant to help her.
While at TEDWomen, Jasvir (one of Valarie’s dearest friends) and I created the conditions she needed to labour a talk of transformative impact. You see, the talk Valarie came into TED with was not the one she delivered on stage. She started from scratch 24-hrs beforehand and brought music and power to stage a day later. Watching her commitment to her message and movement, and witnessing her genius first-hand was life-changing.
I have now seen one of the greatest orators of our time in one of her greatest moments of impact. I will hold that experience dear with me for years to come. I will also elevate my methods, habits, and behaviours to level up based on what I witnessed.
This is what can happen if you just go for it, if you just show up, and if you work against your fear.
I didn’t know many of my fellow attendees going into TEDWomen — in-fact, part of the reason I am in my room writing this while at Summit in LA is because I am also nervous about not having someone here with me (calling myself out!!). Fear is an interesting beast. But I believe she’s often there to remind us of how transformative ‘that scary thing’ will actually be for us. (I have a feeling something magical is about to happen once I leave this room, stay tuned until next week to find out what it ends up being! #facethefear
Take the leap, call the person you’ve always wanted to work with, do the project that keeps you up at night. Just fucking do it! I promise, working through the discomfort and showing up to do the work and following-thru can change your life forever.
I ended up with a forever sister. Who knows what’s in store for you.
Signing off until next Tuesday at 9 am,
Join me each week to see the behind-the-scenes action at KoMedia. This week, Kylie and I head to Boston to give a workshop at Harvard Business School.
"I want to be a part of having more meaningful dialogues with women who want to make high impact in the world."
Welcome to part nine of a 20-part series we're publishing called, Your Moment of Ambition.
This week, dive into the concept of women supporting women. It's a topic we often hear a lot about in women's empowerment spaces, but rarely do we do a deep dive into all the social factors that make women's professional relationships complicated. The good news is that we're definitely moving in the right direction.
Click here to check out this week’s post on LinkedIn for more!
The Miss Peru pageant quickly became a protest when contestants used their (literal and figurative stage) to shine a light on gendered violence in the country.
- This is Us took a small step toward revolutionizing representation on screen when it featured a Sikh character -- with absolutely no reference to his religion or ethnicity. He was able to simply exist in the story as white characters have always been allowed to do in popular media. (Note here that Valarie made this happen with support from America Ferrera and the team at NBC)
- What did Alice Kantor do when she realized the UK didn't have a single event aimed at empowering Black British women? She started one herself.
- We're loving this profile of Jessica Williams, who has fought for her career and belived in her craft every step of the way.
Supporting our friend Lindsey's Indiegogo campaign to fund World Changing Kids, an organization that's building a more empathetic, conscious and kind generation.
RUPI KAUR PRESENTS
Sold Out: The Sun and Her Flowers with Komal Minhas
Renowned feminist author, poet, multi-media artist and genuine international phenomenon, Rupi Kaur joins me in Ottawa for the launch of her second book, 'the sun and her flowers'. Tickets are now sold out -- thank you so much for your support!